Winter and flu have been keeping me busy, and here it is March. Yesterday was an exciting day for me. I pulled myself together and attended my book club at the library where we discussed Alice Munro's Dear Life. Generally, the other attendees liked the collection of short stories, which I had recommended, though we all agreed that we didn't much like the "postmodern" stories. In these, the reader is led to focus on an interesting character and situation, and then moves on to another, with the emotional and intellectual commitment we made to the first interesting character/situation subordinate in importance to another plot twist.
But only two of the stories were like that. Most of the stories were about women who felt so desperate to break out of their situation that they did dangerous things, like falling in love with a cold, nasty man, or running away from a domestic situation, out of the frying pan, into the fire, or putting up with dishonesty in a lover. My favourite was "Dolly", about an older couple whose relationship is threatened, or seems to be, by a door-to- door cosmetics saleswoman who turns out to be an old acquaintance. It is a hoot.
Since Alice Munro recently won the Nobel Prize for Literature, it was timely that we read her latest book. Let's hope it's not her last.
While ill, I read several good books, including Olivia Chow's My Journey, Sue Monk Kidd's The Invention of Wings, and Isabelle Allende's Maya's Notebook.
A poem of mine was published in Open Heart 8: Anthology of Canadian Poetry (Beret Days Press), 2014 ISBN 978-1-897497-94-4 Here it is:
Vincent Comes to the National Gallery
by Ruth Latta
We stroll past meadows, lavender,
white almonds on a turquoise sky,
sunflowers - close and personal -
and poppies graced by butterflies.
A workman's pair of beat-up boots,
two lovers on a forest stroll,
a large old woman in a field
and sheaves of wheat in yellow gold.
In this exhibit, no cafe,
no cornfield crows, no "Starry Night" -
too valuable to go on loan -
but we, in awe, say, "That's all right."